Last month I got stuck. My work pace slowed from a crawl to a standstill and I didn’t know how to get moving again. Thankfully, God knew exactly what He was doing and pre-arranged for me to participate in the School of Empowerment. For two whole weeks I breathed in God’s presence during times of worship, Word, and wonder. I travelled home inspired and promptly found myself stuck. Again.
With all the re-inspiration, I’d forgotten that respiration has two elements: inspiration and expiration. You breathe in and then you breathe out. Leave out either element and you’ll suffocate.
When we constantly breathe out without breathing in, we burn out.
When we constantly breathe in without breathing out, we stagnate.
After He formed Adam out of the clay of the earth, God breathed life into his nostrils. Adam breathed out praise through his worship and his work. Breathing out expresses itself in creativity. We are designed in the image of a God who delights in creating. Creativity is a hallmark of His kids, we get to partner with God in nurturing and cultivating life. As Erwin McManus notes: “Creativity should be an everyday experience. Creativity should be as common as breathing. We breathe, therefore we create.”
During this season of raising prayer and financial support I’ve found that when I stop creating, I stop. Life stops. Full stop. As much as I need the inspiration of a good God, I equally need to pour out that breath as a sacrifice of praise. And believe me there are times when it feels more like sacrifice than praise! Pain is part of the birthing process, whether pouring out words into a private journal or reworking a lyric for the umpteenth time; but so is joy, and it’s worth pushing through for.
So what stops us breathing out? What gets us stuck? For me it’s usually fear. Fear of failure, fear of what might come out, fear that nothing will come out, fear of how people will react, fear that no one will care enough to notice and appreciate. Fear is the opposite of love and love involves taking the time to truly look at the one we love, delighting in retracing familiar details as well as discovering new nuances.
God created us out of love and every time we risk creating, we risk the same rejection He faced, that He still faces. And yet, amazingly, liberatingly, we are completely accepted by Him, in Him. He looks at us through the eyes of love and the blood of the Lamb and is pleased. Created “very good” in the beginning, and declared “not guilty” in redemption, He is totally satisfied with us. In this state we are freed from creating in a bid for acceptance and freed to create from a place of acceptance, breathing thanks.
“When we are satisfied with us, and know that He is likewise satisfied with us, then real worship can begin to happen… To accept His acceptance is the proper genesis of the ‘doing’ of our worship.” Jim Critcher
How do you step past fear in your journey of creativity?